Emergency salary program could be extended

emergency salary
The end of the emergency salary could drive poverty rates up in Brazil. Photo: Renan Martelli da Rosa/Shutterstock

Senator Alessandro Vieira has submitted a bill to extend the federal government’s coronavirus emergency salary program until March 31, 2021. He told reporters that he is negotiating with his peers to have the proposal voted on this week.

Created by Congress in March, the emergency salary program gave informal and unemployed workers monthly payments of BRL 600 (USD 119) until September, when it was halved to BRL 300. Mr. Vieira proposes that the benefits should continue for another three months, with payments of BRL 300.

The imminent end of the benefit has raised questions about the short-term outlook of Brazil’s economy. The Central Bank’s Economic Activity Index — which acts as a predictor of official GDP — registered an 0.86-percent increase in October, below expectations. Meanwhile, market analysts lowered their GDP forecasts for the first time in nine weeks, from -4.4 percent to -4.41 percent.

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